History of Cooperative Soybean Processing in the United States (1923-2021)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-948436-60-1

Publication Date: 2021 Nov. 26

Number of References in Bibliography: 1022

Earliest Reference: 1923

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Brief Chronology of Cooperative Soybean Processing in the United States

1922 Feb. 18 – Congress passes the Capper-Volstead Act, giving farmers and ranchers the legal right to join together in cooperative associations.

1923 Sept. – Piatt County Soy Bean Co-operative Co. (Monticello, Piatt Co., Illinois), America’s first cooperative soybean crusher, begins operation. It is also the first U.S. plant to use solvent extraction; benzol was the solvent.

1941 June – Ohio Valley Soy Bean Co-operative plant in Henderson, Kentucky, begins crushing soybeans. It is the first of the new wave of cooperative plants to start during the early 1940s. Built by soybean growers in western Kentucky and southeaster Indiana, it is an attempt to increase soybean prices, encourage soybean production by offering a new market, and create a source of high-protein soybean meal as a feed for livestock and poultry.

1944 March – Boone Valley Cooperative Processing Association starts crushing soybeans in Eagle Grove, Iowa.

1945 Feb. – There are now seven cooperative soybean crushing plants in Iowa, located at Sheldon, Dike, Manly, Ralston, West Bend, Eagle Grove, and Martelle (Soybean Digest. 1945. Feb. p. 13). They started for two main reasons: (1) During and immediately after World War II, it was almost impossible for soybean growers to obtain soybean meal, either as meal or in the form of mixed feeds. To alleviate this situation, they formed cooperatives and built soybean crushing plants. (2) To use this meal to raise meat, milk, dairy products and eggs to help the American effort in World War II.

1945 – Consumers Cooperative Association begins operating its first soybean crushing plant at Coffeyville, Kansas.

1947 Aug. 23 – Boone Valley: Fire destroys the plant in Eagle Grove, Iowa.

1949 – From 1940 to 1949, soybean farmers built 21 cooperative soybean crushing plants – 19 of them from 1940 to 1945. These plants were located in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

1951 Nov. – Tri-Country Soy Bean Co-operative Association (later renamed Dawson Mills) starts crushing soybeans in Dawson, Minnesota.

1952 Jan. – Joe Givens takes over as general manager of Dawson Mills.

1959 Oct. – Consumers Cooperative Association (later renamed Farmland Industries) begins operating its second soybean crushing plant at Van Buren, Arkansas.

1963 Sept. – CMA (Consumers Marketing Association, of Kansas City, Missouri) purchases Dannen Mills in St. Joseph, Missouri; this is CMA’s first involvement with soybean processing.

1966 Sept. 1 – Consumers Cooperative Association changes its name to Farmland Industries, Inc.

1968 spring – After considerable discussion, four regional grain cooperatives (including CMA) agree to consolidate their business into a single association. On June 1, it would be known as Far-Mar-Co, Inc. At the time of the merger, only one member, Farmers Union CMA, was involved with soybeans (see 1963 Sept.).

1968 – Gold Kist Soya (Div. of Cotton Processors Assoc.) starts a soybean crushing plant at Valdosta, Georgia.

1968 fall – Farmers Export Co. (FEC) (Overland Park, Kansas) begins exporting soybeans. Three of its four owners are cooperatives.

1969 – Tri-Country Soy Bean Co-operative Association is renamed Dawson Mills.

1970 July – Far-Mar-Co (Hutchinson, Kansas) announces the creation of a new foods division. They soon have a food plant in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1974 – Dawson Food Ingredients is established by Dawson Mills. In about May 1977 they purchase Bontrae spun soy fiber and technology from General Mills.

1975 Aug. – Farmland Industries starts operating its soybean crushing plant at Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

1977 Feb. – Far-Mar-Co merges with Farmland Agriservices.

1979 March 31 – Dawson Food Ingredients’ soy protein isolate plant begins operating 1.5 miles east of Dawson.

1977 May 2 – Far-Mar-Co becomes part of Farmland Industries. Farmland is now also running the former Dannen soybean crushing plant in St. Joseph, Missouri.

1978 – Intrade is formed.

1978Beyond the Fence Rows: A history of Farmland Industries, Inc., 1929-78, by Gilbert C. Fite published. It includes an excellent history of Far-Mar-Co.

1979 - SoyCot starts exporting soybeans.

1980 March 1 – Dawson Mills is merged into Land O’Lakes, and is renamed Land O’Lakes – Soybean Division.

1981 May – Land O’Lakes announces that it will close Dawson Food Ingredients – the soy protein isolate and fiber spinning plant near Dawson. In Aug. the plant is sold to American Milk Products Inc. (AMPI).

1982 May 1 – Bill Lester, an old-timer in co-op soybean processing, starts to work for Boone Valley (Eagle Grove, Iowa) as general manager – with the blessings of Farmland Industries. He advocates cooperating with the other co-op soybean processors, most of whom are struggling. Talk of consolidation or merger begins. A study is conducted.

1983 June 1 – Farmers Union GTA combines with NPGG to from Harvest States Cooperatives.

1983 June 1 – Dawson Food Ingredients discontinues production of soy flour, soy grits, and textured soy flour, because the products are not selling well.

1983 Aug 31 – A very important merger deal is finalized. Boone Valley Cooperative Processing Assoc. buys five co-op soybean processing plants owned by Land O’Lakes (at Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; St. Joseph, Missouri and Van Buren, Arkansas) and Farmland Industries (at Sheldon, Iowa; and Dawson, Minnesota).

1983 Oct. – James Lindsay is chosen to be the new general manager and CEO of the new Boone Valley. Jim had been a vice president at ADM.

1983 – Three Far-Mar-Co. employees buy the company in a leveraged buyout and rename it PMS Foods Inc., standing for Parke, Major, and Shoup. They are still in Hutchinson, Kansas, making textured soy flour. Farmland is a mere shadow of its former existence.

1983 – GTA (including Honeymead) becomes part of Harvest States Cooperatives.

1984 March 7 – The new Boone Valley is renamed “Ag Processing Inc a cooperative,” but soon becomes known as “AGP.” The headquarters is now in Omaha, Nebraska.

1985 Dec. 31 – AGP buys two soybean processing plants from AGRI Industries (Manning, Iowa; and Mason City, Iowa). This brings to 8 the number of soybean processing plants owned by AGP, which now controls 11.5% of total U.S. domestic soybean crushing capacity

1991 March 1 – AGP purchases a vegetable oil refinery in Denison, Texas, from Conway Oil.

1992 – The book Soybeans, Cooperatives and Ag Processing, by Margaret Finnerty is published (178 p.). It contains the best history to date of the origins and development of AGP.

1996 Nov. – AGP starts making SoyGold, soy biodiesel, at its new plant in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.

2002 May 31 – Farmland Industries of Kansas City, Missouri, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

2021 Aug. 1 – Chris Schaffer takes over as CEO and General Manager of AGP from Marty Spackler.

2021 Nov. 24 – "In the last 35 years, AGP has paid back to its members in cash $1.1 billion!” (Bill Lester, former AGP officer).

2021 – AGP is the largest farmer-owned soybean processor in the world, and roughly the fourth-largest soybean processor in the US based on capacity. It purchases and processes more than 5.5 million acres of members' soybeans per year – according to Dun & Bradstreet.

This Book is About:

History of AGRI Industries, Inc. (Iowa)

History of Ag Processing Inc a cooperative (AGP)

History of Arkansas Grain Corp.

History of Boone Valley Cooperative Processing Assoc. (Eagle Grove, Iowa)

History of CHS Cooperatives, Incl. Cenex, Inc. and Harvest States Cooperatives (Includes Honeymead)

History of Consumers Cooperative Association

History of Cooperative Soybean Crushers (General & Other)

History of Dawson Food Ingredients

History of Dawson Mills (Dawson, Minnesota)

History of Farmland Industries, Inc

History of Far-Mar-Co, Inc. (Hutchinson, Kansas)

History of Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association (GTA) (St. Paul, Minnesota)

History of Farmers Union Grain Cooperative Marketing Association (CMA)

History of Gold Kist, Inc. (Georgia)

History of Honeymead (as a Cooperative, Mankato, Minnesota)

History of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

History of Missouri Farmers Association (MFA) (Mexico and Columbia, Missouri)

History of North Iowa Cooperative Processing Association (Manly, Iowa)

History of North Iowa Soybean Cooperative (Manly, Iowa)

History of Ohio Valley Soybean Cooperative (Henderson, Kentucky)

History of Piatt County Soy Bean Co-operative Co. (Monticello, Piatt Co., Illinois)

History of PMS Foods, Inc.

History of Riceland Foods (Arkansas)

History of Tri-County Soy Bean Co-operative Association (Dawson, Minnesota)

History of Cooperative Soybean Crushers

History of Cooperative Soybean Crushing Companies

Chronology of Cooperative Soybean Crushers

Timeline of Cooperative Soybean Crushing Companies

Bibliography of Cooperative Soybean Crushers


Click here to download the full text to open and read book History of Cooperative Soybean Processing in the United States (1923-2021)